Arrive Alive! Don’t Blog and Drive!

August 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today, my morning drive to work was reborn as a monster.  7:30 AM has turned from a normally boring, stop-go nineteen minute meditation period into a hellish half-hour nightmare of lurching schoolbuses, overcaffeinated soccer moms, and reckless teenagers.  Thus it will remain for another nine months.  School has started. 

You see, there are several routes I can take to my daily 8-5.  The sum total of schools I could pass on any of these ways: two colleges, three elementary schools, and four high schools.  No matter what way I go, I have to endure at least three institutes of learning.  You’d think this bustling evidence of education in America would cheer me, give me hope for our future. 

Think again, fool. 

Instead I was almost rear-ended by a kid in a souped-up Subaru who was obviously running late for his first day of Maybe If I Didn’t Own Such a Stupid Baseball Hat and Wear Sunglasses On a Foggy Morning, I Could Actually Drive class.  (I’d like to think he’ll ace it but I have my doubts.)

Let me introduce you to the game I’ll now be playing every weekday morning.  I call it: What Shall I Drive Behind Today.  Will it be the nostalgic yellow schoolbuses (which I honestly don’t mind, it’s so cute to follow a schoolbus and see the children bouncing around in the back seat and looking all excited and… wait… what- what’s he doing?  The freckle-faced boy with the Spiderman backpack just flipped me off.  Cute trick, kid.)?   Or will it be the hordes of Toyota Siennas/Ford Explorers driven by pajama-clad mothers who clutch their coffees and i-Phones, sign their child’s test, and maneuver the steering wheel with their pinky finger, leaving them withnosparetimeatall to flick on their turn signal?  Or the hungover high schoolers, whose delight at proclaiming to the world (or at least Main Street) through smudgy graffiti that THEY.ARE.SENIOR’S! ! ! ❤ ❤ has left them no clear inch on their windows to see that, actually, I am coming down that road and I, unlike them, do not have a stop sign.  It’s a fun game and I encourage you all to join in. 

Sometimes I drink* while I play What Shall I Drive Behind Today, just to liven it up in case it gets dull.  Almost get crumpled by a Power Mother with Michelle arms who has no time to check her mirrors (or inquire why Tiffany’s breath smells like whipped cream vodka) because’s she’s too busy trying to get to the gym before the tanning salon before the hair stylist?  SHOT!  Avoided the PCP’d-up boys who think it’s hilarious to get high on countryside rides and then navigate their parents’ car like the world is their own Grand Theft Auto?  SHOT!   Been the recipient of annoyed honking because Joe College behind you doesn’t realize the garbagemen and their truck are blocking your lane and there’s a calico cat washing its face in the other lane?  SHOT!  The possibilites, my dears, are endless. 

(*I would never.)

By now, you’re most likely assuming that the moment I pull my (poor, sweet, trying-so-hard-to-stay-whole) Chevy Cruze into the parking garage, I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Think again, fool!

The journey is not over yet, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.  The frightening details will be continued in my next post.  Until then, drive safely!  (Because if you don’t, I will blog about your awfulness, describe you in outraged, multi-syllabic, and parenthetical ways, and say a prayer that St. Christopher chastises you appropriately.)

Suspenders: Not Just for Your Grandpa

August 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

Although I’m sure he looks good in them too.

I decided to break out the suspenders on Tuesday for several reasons.  One, I hadn’t worn them in awhile (mainly because they were on a shelf in my room, pushed out of my sight by other very important stuff [re: junk]).  Two, I am tired of all my swingy necklaces and when I wear suspenders, I don’t like to clutter up my chest with necklaces too.  Suspenders make a good focal point in place of jewelry.  Three, I just love them!

Here are some shots:

This is a full-on view.  My apologies for the fact that I post blog pictures which were taken on a cell phone camera that gives me horrible red eyes.  Maybe I will work with my brother Greg on having him take the pics with his cool Canon Rebel camera.  I like to keep the rest of my outfit simple when I throw on the suspenders, because they’re definitely a statement piece.  People comment on them all the time.  I never wear them with black pants, so as to avoid resembling a mime or another old-fashioned character.  Suspenders are, by their nature, old-fashioned to most people.  I try to bring them into the 21st century with these VS slate-blue pants (no longer available in that color on the site, sadly) or my light gray slacks from Express.  (Both pairs of pants purchased with coupons!)  I generally wear them with my white blouse, simply because I love the clean-cut look of it.  I suppose you could wear them with another color button-down, why not?  I’d stick to simple colors though.  But that’s just my style: classic and simple. 

I don’t think suspenders work with low-cut pants.  I wear them with dress pants because my dress pants always sit higher on my waist than my jeans.  Suspenders are there to look like they are holding your pants up.  When your pants are sitting below your waist and the suspenders are attached below your hips, the effect looks strange.  Very disproportionate.  

In case you were wondering about my shoes: I didn’t take any full length pictures, simply because my cell phone camera couldn’t capture the full shot without being about 10 feet away, at which point you could barely see the shoes anyway.  I wore simple black pumps with this outfit.  They have a gold buckle on the toe and a 3 inch heel. 


There you have it!  How to wear suspenders without fear of resembling Grandpa or a mime.  (I hope.)  Let me know what you think!  Also…. how do you like the hair?  Still cute?  It’s a little tousled in these pictures because it had rained, which makes the curl in my hair go crazy.

 

In Which Cathy and Pat Play a Starring Role

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have been writing a short story for the past few days (more like a week now and stretching longer).  It’s almost done and I’m excited for the finished product.  However, it’s hard for me to juggle different kinds of writing.  Writing my story and then switching mental gears for a blog post is really hard for me.  I don’t know why; it’s not like I can’t write when there are distractions around me.  Ha.  Generally, I can write in almost any circumstance as long as there isn’t music playing.  Kids in the background, people talking, dogs barking are all frequent disturbances.  It must be my homeschooling background that enables me to tune noise out and simply concentrate on the task at hand.  Except for music.  It’s strange but I absolutely can’t write when music is playing.  Hearing lyrics in my ears and a character’s conversation in my head at the same time completely distracts me.  My eyes spin.  It’s like listening to your radio while trying to talk with someone, or singing in harmony with yourself.  I can’t do it.  When I’m writing, I play the words out in my head, hearing their sounds, the cadence of the sentence, if it sounds too stilted or forced.  Music disrupts that flow with superfluous words.  Even music without lyrics, like classical or soundtracks, doesn’t work.  Classical music distracts me just as much with the different elements, and I’ve tried to write while listening to soundtracks.  It went something like this:

Me, pecking busily away at a keyboard while The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack plays in the background.  Suddenly, the music rises in a crescendo of excitement and I find all my character wants to do is swordfight a Nazgul.  Seeing as I am not currently writing a Tolkien-esque fantasy epic, this doesn’t jive with the storyline.  Soundtrack paused abruptly.  Stupid Nazgul.

At any rate, I’m sorry for the lack of posts after my haircut but the story took control.  I asked people what they’d like me to blog about and the answers were varied and amusing.  Kimmy said shoes.  I can do that!

Aren’t they just so pretty?  I went to Aldo’s website (I”ve had a soft spot for Aldo since I got those floral print wedges back in May from them) and saw these.  I love the color blocking.  And doesn’t every shoe lover repeat the mantra in their sleep? “Nude Shoes Make Your Legs Look Longer!”   Incredibly versatile yet strikingly beautiful.  I just want to hug them.  And then wear them. 

Cathy and Pat wanted me to blog about themselves.  Okay, here goes: 

Pat is a boy with a beard and some hats. 
Cathy is a girl with a(n irrational) fear of rats.  
Cathy and Pat hang out at weird hours.  
Cathy bakes cookies which Pat then devours. 
They both love the local Chinese buffet
Simply because there’s more food that way.
Then they’ll come home and Youtube weird stuff
Like X Files clips or The Story Of Us.
Pat thinks he’s a Ninja but I’ve beaten him there.
Cathy thinks she’s a stylist, with all her opinions on my hair! 
I guess even after all this, in the end 
I’m glad one’s my sister, and one is my friend.

  

And now back to the short story!

Short ‘n’ Sassy Haircut!

August 18, 2011 § 7 Comments

I GOT MY HAIR CUT!!!!  (By the way, I love the word sassy.  It sounds like what it means.  You know, words like replenish and sassy and twirl and luxurious.  There’s a word for that… what is it… I can’t remember!  I hate it when I can’t remember words!  But you don’t care about the word that means when words sound like what they mean.  You care about my short ‘n’ sassy new haircut!!)

 

No turning back now!

 

All those curls

  

The finished product!

 

Eat your heart out, Vidal Sassoon!

 

Full on view

 

I didn't take a picture while driving. I didn't! (I was at a red light.)

 

This morning, with glasses. Also it's curled under more than yesterday. I think I need to straighten it because my hair has that natural curl. We'll see!

 In case you were curious, the back:

mirror mirror on the wall

 

(For those of you wondering, I could not donate my hair because of the bleach/dye that was used in highlighting it.)

Tell me what you think!!!  I decided to get it cut to this length instead of the reallllly short haircut I had first envisioned for several reasons.  First, I had never cut my hair so short before and I figured I can always go shorter if I like it.  Secondly, both my hairdresser Tara (THE BEST) and my friend Renata suggested this cut and I trust them.  Third, my mother would have killed me.  No, honestly.  Dead.  Murdered.  Pushing up the daisies.  Ceased to be.  Joined the choir invisible.  Ex-Rose.

So!  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Do you remember that word that I can’t think of???

World Youth Day 2011

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have found some wonderful excerpts, videos, links, recaps (thus far) of World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain!  I personally know about 15 people who made it over there for the huge celebration of youthful Catholic faith.  15 people seemed like a lot at first, but apparently there are over a million youth rushing to Madrid right now.  I couldn’t go myself, but the exuberance and the utter joy of the kids who are there is buoying me up daily.  It’s heartening to see so many other young people understand that Catholicism is not just something your grandparents made you do, it’s not just a bunch of rules and “thou shalt not”s, it is greater and more beautiful than the secular media will ever portray.  Why are such great hordes of youth flocking there?  To catch a glimpse of an elderly German man in a funny car?  No, they are there to participate in something that they have realized is greater than themselves.  In this jaded world where self reigns supreme, our young people in Madrid are acknowledging to the world that they believe in a faith that went before them and will continue after them; a faith that has withstood the test of time and the fury of the gates of hell.  They come to see Pope Benedict not for his Popemobile but for his father’s heart and his leader’s speech.  They come seeking a path through the morass of moral relativism and into the firmness of truth and humility.  Perhaps they come so that through Pope Benedict they can gaze back to Peter, the rock on which Christ founded his Church, the unbroken, guiding line of Scripture & tradition.  This is the meaning of World Youth Day, I think: a bold proclamation to the world, of faith in Jesus Christ by those on whom the future rests.    

Madrid, Spain

– The official World Youth Day Madrid website has a complete schedule of the events, day by day, and even has a countdown to the Pope’s arrival at the Barajas Airport on Thursday!  They also have lots of great articles, including an explanation of how Our Lady of Almudena came to be the patronness of Madrid.  The Madrid Seminary and other monasteries around the world have joined forces for 121 hours of non-stop prayer during the week of World Youth Day.

 – Marc at BadCatholic is in Madrid and posting recaps of his pilgrim journey that are both inspiring and gosh darn hilarious.  Read it and watch the video, the last 10 seconds made me laugh out loud! 

– Father Tim Finigan says: “For those outside the Church (and indeed for many inside it) the spectacle of a million young people going to Madrid to see Pope Benedict and publicly witness to their Catholic faith, is hard to understand.” and then links to an article in USA Today by Anna Williams. 

Anna writes: “At first glance, studies such as Pew’s 2010 report “Religion Among the Millennials” seem to indicate that young Catholics (age 18-29) exemplify their generation’s tendency toward religious indifference. To wit, they are less likely to attend Mass weekly, less likely to pray daily, and less likely to consider religion “very important” than Catholics 30 and older. Yet the millennial Catholics who do practice and value their faith are doing something odd: They are spearheading a resurgence of traditional Catholic liturgy and disciplines that their parents and grandparents had largely abandoned.”  (Emphasis mine.)

– The Catholic News Agency gives a good summary of the Opening Day Mass and homily by Madrid’s Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela.  During the homily, he said: World Youth Day inspires a new encounter with the Lord….  He is the only one who can understand you and lead you to the truth giving life that never ends, to give you happiness, true love.”

Here is an article by Archbishop Chaput (who, coincidentally, was recently made Archbishop of Philly!), about his experience in Colorado for World Youth Day ’93: “Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, my friend and predecessor as archbishop of Denver, hosted World Youth Day in August 1993, and he still likes to tell the following story.  One of his staffers had just moved to Colorado from a much larger and higher crime city on the West Coast.  The man was driving his family home late one evening, when the street— four lanes wide—was suddenly blocked by a huge mob of teens swarming out of the dark.  As urban panic kicked in, and he threw the car in reverse, his wife helpfully pointed out that the kids were … singing a Marian hymn.  The “mob” turned out to be hundreds of French World Youth Day pilgrims walking back to their parish sleeping quarters.  It was a moment of grace—unexpected, implausible and beautiful—and similar moments of grace happened again and again all over the city during those extraordinary days.”

– Father Robert Barron is over in Madrid for the celebration, and posting recaps on his Word On Fire blog

– The Sisters of Life have a World Youth Day blog!

– As usual, Whispers in the Loggia has a good recap and some pictures.

 

The Winter Sea

August 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

Anyone who has encountered me while I’m reading a good book can sense what’s going on.  The signs are classic and obvious: I am distracted, half-living out of my world and in another.  You have to call my name at least three times before I drag myself back to the surface and hear you.  Instead of putting the book down to talk to you, I fidget nervously with my finger marking my place, ready to flip it back open the second you stop speaking.  I guess it’s a good thing that I generally read only around family members.  People would probably think I’m crazy.  I can’t help it, though.  Once a book has grabbed hold of me, I can’t wrestle away.  And who would want to?  I just finished reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and it was one such book.  It took me by the shoulders, sat me down, and wouldn’t let me leave until the story had played itself out before me. 

I hate summing up books.  I don’t think I could ever be a book reviewer.  It’s the condensing, you see.  The narrowing down of a story to its mere bones.  I can tell you that The Winter Sea takes place in Scotland, with viewpoints from both the early 18th century and the present day; but I can’t explain how, despite the changes of civilization, the crags and shores and crashing waves of Scotland stayed the same throughout both storylines, an strengthening continuation that flowed through to me as I sat in front of my own ocean.  I can explain how I related to the two women around which the book is centered, in their struggles with life and love, but that sounds trite and cliche.  It doesn’t explain how I could feel so sympathetic to Sophia, a woman living in a castle in the 1700s, enduring war on her doorstep, traitors in her dining room.  And I suppose I could reveal what happens in the end, but that would be thoroughly heartless.  Suffice it to say that I almost cried, I clapped my hands, and I wanted it to go on and on.  Maybe I’m silly for becoming so involved in books, investing such care and hope in characters, but I can’t help it.  I love stories.  I want to live in good stories.  I wanted to live in this one.

Adorable Furry Creatures

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Have I mentioned ever before how much I love my pet rats?

No?

Here you go!

Willie: Fat and Lovin' It!

 

Sniffing around

 

Snack Time for Merv!

 

HIM. (Bob)

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